G-20: On the weekend of November 30, 20-nations met at the G-20 summit in Argentina. The meeting affirmed the importance of a multilateral trading system, with all G-20 leaders agreeing to a joint communique. U.S. and European negotiators endorsed the importance of helping economies grow, and (excluding the U.S.) supporting the Paris climate accord.
US-China: On the G20 summit side-lines, President Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping met to discuss trade relations. Although the U.S. postponed its threat to increase tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods to 25% from 10%, the countries differed in how they reported the meeting outcomes. Much has happened with trade tensions since the meeting. Against this backdrop, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also reported that the U.S.’s trade deficit in goods with China continues to grow.
USMCA: On November 30, the USMCA was officially signed in Buenos Aires by the US, Mexico, and Canada. Former Mexican President Peña Nieto emphasized that the deal is the first of its kind to “incorporate elements that address the social impact of international trade”. The deal is still pending ratification by all three countries' legislatures before taking full effect.
NAFTA: President Trump indicated he intends to withdraw from NAFTA in order to gain US Congressional approval for USMCA. The move is set to encourage the immediate ratification of the deal- choosing between “USMCA or pre-NAFTA”.
WTO-steel and aluminum: India and Switzerland joined seven other WTO countries to challenge U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum. The countries have maintained that U.S duties have been misguided as safeguard actions. WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body has agreed to establish panels to review this tariff decision.
Brexit:On December 12, Prime Minister Theresa May survived a vote of no confidence, meaning she will continue Brexit talks with EU leaders. Amidst the uncertainty, businesses have been anxiously preparing for a potential “no-deal” Brexit.
USDA Trade Missions: Seven USDA-led trade missions have been announced for 2019 to encourage the diversification into the developing markets of Kenya, Vietnam and Colombia (and more).